Forty-three years ago, 20 million people across America gathered to celebrate the first Earth Day. The environment was in a state of crisis.
Cities were buried in smog, and polluted rivers were catching fire.
We’ve come a long way since then.
More and more of us are turning down the thermostat in the winter and turning it up in the summer.
We turn off lights when we leave a room, and we make a habit of recycling, reducing the amount of trash our communities send to landfills.
More and more, people are taking notice of the need to protect our planet for future generations, and they’re rolling up their sleeves to take action.
We can, of course, do more — and follow the lead of folks like those from the Carver Community Center, who spent three hours during Monday’s observance of Earth Day by cleaning Studebaker Park and filling 25 bags of trash in the process.
One of the best things we can do is plant a tree.
The National Arbor Day Foundation notes trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.
Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, and they reduce erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls.
Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution, and they can keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
We can turn down our thermostats in the winter and turn them up in the summer. Experts say a difference of just 1 degree can reduce energy costs by about 4 percent.
We can use ceiling fans throughout the year. By reversing their direction in the winter, the blades push air down, helping to keep rooms warmer.
We can repair leaky faucets. One drip per second can waste as much as 10 gallons of water in a week.
We can cut water use at least in half by installing low-flow faucets and low-flow toilets.
Let’s all rededicate ourselves to the welfare of the planet.
When you see that piece of trash on the sidewalk, pick it up. And when you drink that soft drink, make the extra effort to recycle the can.
We’ve come a long way in 43 years, but we still have a long way to go.